NASA and NOAA officials congratulated each other this morning following the successful launch of the NPP spacecraft aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Ken Schwer, NPP Project Manager, led off a news conference this morning about three hours after liftoff. He will be part of the team who will get the spacecraft checked out during the next several weeks so it can begin its Earth observing mission.

"Now the future of NPP starts and we look forward to NPP touching the rest of the world," Schwer said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expected to use the data from NPP as part of its weather forecasting.

NPP will "make America a more weather-ready nation," said Mary Glackin, NOAA's deputy undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere. The NPP spacecraft was launched on-time at 5:48 a.m. EDT.